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Brightly coloured day moth seen on Tiree: First record of a six-spot burnet on the island

Last modified: 10 July 2015

Six-spot burnet moth on Tiree

The six-spot burnet moth seen on Tiree.

Image: John Bowler

A brightly coloured moth has been recorded for the first time on Tiree by RSPB Scotland. Although six-spot burnet moths are common across much of England, Wales and Ireland they more thinly distributed across Scotland. 

A team from RSPB Scotland carrying out insect survey work on the island came across the moth.  Six-spot burnets are often mistaken for butterflies due to their colouring and because they are active during the day. The moths are a dark blue black colour with a metallic sheen. They have six bright red spots on each of their forewings, and their hind wings are completely red.

James Silvey, Nature Recovery Officer at RSPB Scotland said: “The moth was on the ground basking in the sunshine as we walked past so it was easy to see all six of the spots on each wing. Six-spot burnets are found in the Outer Hebrides and in some coastal areas of Scotland so it’s exciting that we’ve seen one on Tiree.  They’re about during the summer between June and August and are attracted to a range of flowers including thistles.”

John Bowler, RSPB Scotland’s Tiree Officer added: “It’s great to see this moth on the island. Tiree has an amazing array of wildlife including lots of insects. Over the summer nine species of bumblebees buzz about the flowers, butterflies such as meadow browns and common blues flit about and both black and highland darter dragonflies can be seen on the wetlands. I’ll now be keeping my eye out for more six-spot burnets.”

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Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines. We can all help by giving nature a home where we live.

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